Romanticism and Transcendetalism Movements

June 23, 2009
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Romanticism began in Germany and England in the 1770s and by the 1820s, it swept all through Europe. Romantics believed that the deep relationships humans create with nature and with each other are the most important goals. They freely expressed emotion and personal feelings in their writings and poetry. The central focus of the romantics was the relationship between humans and nature. Some of the famous writers and poets of this time were Frederick Douglas, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinsons, and Henry Woodsworth Longfellow. Their writings supported freedom of the individual and also reflected national pride. During this period, five poets were knows as “Fireside Poets” because their poetry was read around campfires all across the nation. This movement rebelled against social rules and expectations of this time.

Unlike Romanticism, Transcendentalism was the spiritual, philosophical, and literary movement that theorized that mind can actively shape experience. They believed that an ideal spiritual state “transcends” the physical and is achieved through an individuals intuition. Transcendentalists felt humans were basically good but corrupted by society and that people could self-improve if they chose to. Some important people of this movement were Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was believed to be the leader of the Transcendentalist Movement which lasted from the 1830s to 1860s. Their writings were entirely different from anything from England or anywhere else. Most of the Transcendentalists were involved in social reform movements such as anti-slavery and women’s rights. They also believed that all people had access to divine inspiration and freedom.





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